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Educating Citizens

International Perspectives on Civic Values and School Choice

Educating Citizens by Patrick J. Wolf
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In the wake of the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling upholding school choice, policymakers across the country are grappling with the challenge of funding and regulating private schools. Towns, cities, and states are experimenting with a variety of policies, including vouchers, tax credits, and charter schools. Meanwhile, public officials and citizens continue to debate the issues at the heart of the matter: Why should the government regulate education? Who should do the regulating? How should private schools be regulated, and how much?

These questions represent new terrain for many policymakers in the United States. Europe and Canada, however, have struggled with these issues for decades or, in some cases, even a century or more. In this groundbreaking volume, scholars from Europe and the United States come together to ask what Americans can learn from other countries’ experience with publicly funded educational choice.

This experience is both extensive and varied. In England and Wales, parents play a significant role in selecting the schools their children will attend. In the Netherlands and much of Belgium, most students attend religious schools at government expense. In Canada, France and Germany, state-financed school choice is limited to circumstances that serve particular social and governmental needs. In Italy, school choice has just recently arrived on the policy agenda.

In analyzing these cases, the authors focus on how school choice policies have shaped and been shaped by civic values such as tolerance, civic cohesion, and integration across class, religious, and racial lines. They explore the systems of regulation, accountability, and control that accompany public funding, ranging from the testing-based mechanisms of Alberta to the more intrusive inspection systems of Britain, Germany, and France. And they discuss the relevance of these experiences for the United States. These essays illuminate many ways in which the public interest in education may be preserved or even enhanced in an era of increased parental choice.

Based on a wealth of experience and expertise, Educating Citizens will aid policymakers and citizens as they consider historic changes in American public education policy.

Contributors include B. P. Vermeulen (Vrije University, The Netherlands), Anne Bert Dijkstra (Dutch Educational Inspectorate, The Netherlands), Jaap Dronkers (European University Institute, Italy) Sjoerd Karsten (University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands), Neville Harris (University of Manchester, England), Stephen Gorard (Cardiff University, Wales), Lutz R. Reuter (University der Bundeswehr Hamburg, Germany), Luisa Ribolzi (University di Genova, Italy), Denis Meuret (University de Bourgogne, France), Jan De Groof (College of Europe, Belgium), David E. Campbell (University of Notre Dame), William Galston (University of Maryland), Richard W. Garnett (University of Notre Dame), Charles L. Glenn (Boston University), and John F. Witte (University of Wisconsin–Madison).

Brookings Institution Press; Read online
Title: Educating Citizens
Author: Patrick J. Wolf; Stephen Macedo; David J. Ferrero; Charles Venegoni

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